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I'm having a hard time coming up with a grocery list (going tonight after work) and a menu. It's not that I'm having trouble staying within the limit, I just fear that it's not very balanced. I'm lacking in fiber, carbs and most other vitamins and nutrients, but far exceeding my sodium intake. I unfortunately don't exercise as much as I should (I work VERY long hours) which is why I keep my calorie intake so low. I was just hoping someone would have some suggestions as to what a WELL BALANCED 1400 calorie/day looks like. I'm so lost! I don't even know where to begin! HELP!!!!!!!!!
I don't have a meal plan for you (I eat around 1800/day) but I do have a general tip. It seems like if you are low on nutrients and fiber, but high on sodium, that you are choosing processed foods and prepackaged meals. I would encourage you to incorporate more fruits and vegetables. They are going to give you the fiber and nutrients you need and they are relatively low-calorie for the most part.
I know a lot of people on here who eat on the lower calorie end of the spectrum swear by steamed veggies as a side for their lunches and dinners. I personally cannot stand plain steamed veggies; in fact I'd rather eat them raw. What I have started doing with dinner is to take whatever combination of veggies I have (usually something like mushrooms, eggplant, peppers, onions, zucchini, etc) and spray a nonstick pan, or use a small amount of olive oil, season them, sautee them for a couple of minutes, and then add a little chicken stock or even water and halfway cover the pan with a lid. This is my way of "steaming" them. The liquid evaporates as the steam cooks the veggies and I just find them more flavorful this way. That with a grilled piece of chicken or fish and a serving (or even half-serving) of rice, pasta, or couscous makes a great lower calorie lunch or dinner.
Without seeing your actual meal plan we can't tell much... but there are two typical causes of your situation. The first is an over-reliance on ready-made and convenience foods. These are LOADED with sodium and typically lacking in fiber, and if you eat it all the time, you're going to be way over where you want to be, and way under on the fiber count. It's fine to eat them, but you really don't want to have them all the time. When you do, add in a fresh salad or some fruit or a side of frozen vegetables to boost your fiber count.
Another problem might be incorporating too much starch/carbs... potatoes and rice and bread are a necessary part of your diet, but they're very low in fiber and high in sodium (depending on how they're prepared.) If this is your problem, cut down your portion sizes of starch and add in a generous side of frozen vegetables. Frozen vegetables are super-convenient and if you get the kinds that are NOT 'pre-sauced/pre-seasoned' they're super-healthy. You can add your own flavourings to them without all the salt.
Perhaps this would help (from the Q&A under Advice tab)
I eat about 1,400 per day and here are some things I typically eat:
- String Cheese
- Cottage Cheese
- half a pb sandwich on whole wheat
- protein bars
- prozen or fresh veggie (sometimes with hummus)
For meals, I typically start with a salad or homemade soup, they fill you up without a lot of calories. Fish (fresh or canned) are great also with a side 'o veggies and some rice.
Breakfast is usually an egg white sandwich or shredded wheat and a piece of fruit. It is pretty easy to maintain the 1400 with these options. all of these are high in protein and fiber and good for you because they keep you full and are not processed or laden with a lot of sugar and salt.
I hope this helps!
Here's a site for balanced meals on 1400 calories:
I'm shooting for about the same calories everyday. What I'm doing for now..is logging in my meals and snacks every morning. I pack everything for during the day in a small cooler. I've opted to eat lean cuisines because they're easy, taste great, and are portioned out to about 260 calories each. I throw a handful of broccoli or spinach on top and bake them. For snacks: I eat chopped cucumber and tomato salads , a greek yogurt with sliced strawberries...and hard boiled egg whites. I use calorie down fat free milk in my coffee. Those are the high points...I just find figuring it out on the front end keeps me on track. AFter I get to my goal weight...I'll chop and cook more...but I'm afraid I'd nibble and graze over my calorie allotment. That's why I adore those lean cuisines. Dummy proof! lol.
I've been at it for going on three weeks..and I'm starting to see the difference..and I'm enjoying it so far.
I've lost about 40 pounds so far, and for the most part stick to a 1400 or 1500 calorie day, eating many of the same things day after day because that's what works for me.
For breakfast, I have one slice of whole wheat toast, 2 scrambled eggs (which I put right on top of the toast to eat) --- using a non-stick pan and a small amount of cooking spray -- and 4 oz orange juice.
For lunch, I have my main meal, which usually is a 4-6 oz portion of chicken, fish, or turkey (once in a while red meat), 1-2 cups of cooked vegies, good size lettuce salad, and usually a sugar-free jello parfait with fruit. Once in a while I'll have wild rice or a potato, but not every day.
For dinner, I either have soup and salad or a lean cuisine (I know, not the healthiest choice, but the convenience really works for me right now). If I need a snack later, or anytime during the day, I try to stick with an apple, some grapes, or a string cheese. I take a good nutritional supplement, and limit drinks to water or ice tea for the most part.
I would imagine that some people don't like each day to be the same, but for me it works because I don't have to think about what to eat. Good luck to you!
I like that plan. I also think automating what you eat helps. So you don't have to think about it all the time. Congrats on the 40 pounds. That's wonderful.
Just try to avoid anything really processed--frozen meals, energy bars, etc. I try to stay between 1200 and 1400 on my sedentary days, here are my favorites:
-Chobani greek yogurt
-Steel cut oats
-Light whole wheat english muffins
-Strawberries and blueberries
I hear you a_c_m. I really like your list of food.
I used to never eat a lean cuisine ...but I really need to get disciplined on my calorie counting. So those make is so easy to automate..and not cheat. I'm trying them just a for a few weeks to see if they work. I don't think they're entirely horrible because don't have preservatives and I always add vegetables and eat mixed green salad with all sorts of vegetables with them. I do wish they'd use whole grains though. Also..they have the taste thing down..they are delicious..better then anything I could cook.
Try a cookbook! I use the Biggest Loser cookbooks. I like to photocopy the recipes I'm going use and reference them for my grocery list. I get additional items like extra fruits and veggies, cheese, soy milk, things like that, but I use the book as my main grocery guide.